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Sweden organizes competition in China so people won’t confuse it with Switzerland

Many people can't tell the two countries apart because their names sound similar in Chinese.
Posted By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |   Nov. 1, 2013 at 12:44 PM
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(UPI) -- Swedish officials are holding a competition on Chinese social media challenging people to come up with fun ways to keep Switzerland and Sweden from being confused.

The two European counties are often mistaken for one another by Spanish-speakers because their names sound alike -- Suecia versus Suiza -- and in China where their names also sound similar.

"You often encounter this," said Swedish Consul General Victoria Li. "Sweden is 'Ruidian' and Switzerland is 'Ruishi.’ The first symbol is the same."

Li created a poster depicting typical things associated with each country. The Swedish portion includes a Dalecarlian horse, a viking and Alfred Nobel whereas the Swiss portion features tennis star Roger Federer, a watch and bags of money.

The Swedish section also includes table-tennis champ JO Waldner, who is quite well-known in China.

"He's a superstar over there, dubbed 'the eternally green tree' or something," said Swedish designer Anna Forsberg, who previously lived in Beijing. "I was actually quite surprised by how well acquainted people in China were with Sweden. Although, of course, maybe you without knowing it fed people prompt words like Volvo if they didn't seem to pick up on the country name in conversation."

The winner of the Swiss vs. Swedish competition, open until Nov. 20, will be rewarded with a vacation to both countries.

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